Did you know the average industrial worker has 8 deficient gauges within 20 feet of their work area? That’s right, a broken, damaged or misapplied gauge is creating a safety hazard somewhere close, right now. 

A gauge failure compromises a plant’s safety. The ability to detect a problem before an incident occurs can be a matter of life and death. Ill-functioning gauges lead to a loss of reliability, leaks, unauthorized emissions and possibly explosions.

These outcomes are undesirable, to say the least. Even minor safety incidents lead to expensive downtime. Lost products, lost employee hours, repairs, etc. all take their toll on profits.

Fortunately, these situations can be prevented by choosing the right Wika gauges for the application, correct installation and training. 

Read on to learn more.

Wika Gauges for Safety

Personnel often don’t have the right combination of experience and equipment to tackle all safety challenges, but it doesn’t mean that they can be ignored. 

According to studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fewer than one-half of one percent of piping components account for the majority of controllable fugitive emissions. This means seems to indicate that a very small number of connection points are the major source of safety violations and fines.

Many facilities should start by addressing these connection points to get bottom-line results fast. Gauges installed with a dual containment device are required by EPA regulations.  Correctly installed Wika gauges with welded diaphragm seals on these components meet these requirements.  

Choose Uniformity

The split second it takes to glance at a gauge and determine if it is within parameters is all it takes to maintain safety. Help your personnel reduce confusion and speed their work by standardizing your replacement parts. Whenever you replace a gauge, select the correct gauge for use and pressure. 

Faulty or misapplied gauges are worse than no measurement at all, as a false sense of security may prevail. If a gauge has failed and must be replaced, examine why and how the component stopped working.

Why Gauges Quit

Wika gauges are some of the industry’s most reliable and durable pressure an temperature gauges available. Plants depend on their accuracy and ease of use. WIKA identified eight common causes of failure.

1. Temperature

Cracks, sweating, and loosening of the metal joints are a sign of frequent temperature extremes. Extreme temperatures can cause changes in metal that weaken the structure. Gauges with a fully welded diaphragm seal are required. Consider adding a cooling element to against the highest temperatures.

2. Vibration

Almost all equipment vibrates, excessive vibration usually indicates a problem with the component. However, some gauges are sensitive to excessive vibration. This can lead to premature failure. Install a vibration-resistant liquid-filled or direct drive gauge in these areas.

3. Corrosion

Measuring highly corrosive gases and fluids can often damage the sensors in gauges. Install a corrosion resistant diaphragm seal. 

4. Pulsing

Cousin to vibration, this indicator is caused by a rapidly cycling medium in a pressure system. This makes the gauge needle to move erratically and leads to the breakdown of internal parts. To solve this challenge, install a restrictor and liquid-filled case to reduce pulses or use a direct-drive gauge. 

5. Pressure Spikes and Frequent Overpressurization

Bouncing up against the stop pin bends the gauge pointer. This frequent forceful movement compromises the integrity of the sensing element.  and, ultimately, lead to rupture. Install protections against overpressure incidents to inhibit readings that exceed gauge capacity or choose a gauge with larger capacity.

6. Mistreatment, Age and Abuse

Even properly installed gauges will start to malfunction as components wear out. Premature wear can occur with mistreatment or abuse. Conduct a regular maintenance and replacement program. Train your personnel in the safe use of equipment and regularly reinforce safety training.

7. Clogging

Viscous fluids, crystallization or suspended particulate matter can impede the pressure system and make gauge readings less than reliable. Install diaphragm seals with a clog-prevention barrier.

8. Vapors

The internal parts of gauges are especially sensitive to moisture and other condensed vapors. Add in a mini-siphon with an internal chamber or a full siphon to prevent damage. 

Choosing the Right Gauge for the Job

The century-old technology used in pressure gauges is still one of the most common methods to determine pressure today. The vast majority of pressure gauges incorporate the Bourdon tube, socket and geared movement. Digital gauges have made some inroads, but most gauges are still equipped with a dial face and pointer.

Pressure gauges are used to monitor liquids and gas pressure. They have applications including hydraulics and pneumatics, medicine, heating and cooling systems, compressors and pumps, utilities and industry monitoring. In addition to a visual indicator, some pressure gauges are configured to switch machinery on and off and monitor other variables such as temperature.

Different process connections, sizes, and case mounting styles each have a correctly fitting pressure gauge. Specify the proper process connection based on system requirements. 

Wika Gauges Selection Criteria

Take the engineering and system design requirements, accuracy, and cost and safety factors into consideration. Pressure gauges are available in many ranges of accuracy from ±.25 % to ±2.5%. Scale options are available for many single and dual scale ranges. 

Higher accuracy requires a larger dial display for readable pressure scale increments. Consider the space available and the distance from the viewer. 

Select the correct pressure range for a gauge. Consider if there is dynamic pressure with a potential of pulses and surges. Choose a full-scale pressure gauge where the average operating pressures are between 50% and 75% of the dial. 

Summing It All Up

Industrial gauges are some of the most common types of safety equipment in use, yet the average worker is likely to work near 8 or more inoperable gauges at any time. Maintenance, repair, and replacement of Wika gauges are inexpensive insurance against the risk of a leak of gases or fluids. 

There are many reasons why a gauge fails. There are also a wide variety of options and accessories are available for a pressure gauge to avoid those failures. Snubbers can be used to increase gauge readability by smoothing out pressure surges, pulses, and spikes. Swivel adaptors move a gauge dial to a better line of sight, etc.

While the pressure gauge is a simple device, it is an important and critical piece of safety equipment. Check out our Wika page to explore further.